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Taking Stock: Customer service secrets for winning back customers

Apply these service secrets to your customers’ experience and you will increase customer satisfaction, customer retention and win back customers to increase your bottom line.

Start with a positive attitude – Look at any customer service situation as a challenge and an opportunity to learn, grow and take care of the customer’s needs. Start with a positive attitude that says "I want to help you and together, we will find a solution."

Listen with empathy – Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, experience his/her pain, and communicate to the customer that you understand the pain. You can communicate your understanding of their pain by saying, "Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. If I were in your shoes, I would feel the same way."

Take ownership – Don’t make excuses for what happened with the customer. Apologise and take ownership for what happened. The sooner you take ownership of the customer service challenge, the sooner you can take ownership of the customer service solutions.

Communicate your plan of action – Let the customer know what you are willing to do to take care of his/her concerns. The customer becomes frustrated when he/she feels uninvolved or uncertain as to what you are planning for the solution. Ask for the customer’s commitment to the plan before proceeding with the action.

Take action – The most important customer service secret is taking action. You can go through all the other customer service secrets and if you don’t take action, all your actions and credibility are lost. You increase customer retention when you make sure you deliver more than what is promised. Act quickly, act with a quality solution and act with integrity.

Ask for the business – Let the customer know that you don’t take his/her business for granted. It’s even more important that you express to the customer that you would like his/her business. You can also give an extra incentive to the customer for acting now to continue giving you the business. It can be as simple as a discount coupon or some other special offering.

Barbara Wold has more than 45 years of first-hand retail experience, and is one of the industry’s most sought-after speakers and consultants.

Taking Stock is Retail in Asia’s fortnightly column dedicated to showcasing opinions from experts in the retail industry.